Creating The Smart Van Home

How to take your van conversion to the next level with smart devices to make van living and travel more enjoyable

Why does the minimalist life have to come with compromise?

Why can’t we simplify out life in the van and on the road as well? Automate the simple things and make life that little bit easier? That’s what we have striven to achieve in our van build. To not only make it a home, but make it a smart one too.

Now this is significantly easier than you may think with the use of some handy little contraptions.

A minimalist life is life simplified and that goes with our technology too. Our electric hot water service switches on 45 minutes before my alarm for work so that I can have a hot shower first thing in the morning without wasting the power to keep it running all night.

All our lights are automated or can be (there’s always personal preference in a custom build). We are able to choose the colour of light (like red for keeping night vision) and mean we can wake up without harsh, white light, directly in our eyes.

Most of our basic electrical appliances are interconnected to create simplicity and practicality, the core of all our builds.

Our water tank gauge, Victron BMV, Inverter switch, DC Control Panel, RVWiFi 4GX and Google Home

The brains behind our smart gadgets are 2 main products; our Google Home Mini and our RVWiFi 4GX.

The Google Home is how we create our routines and alarms and the RVWIFI is what connects all the dots by creating a WiFi network inside and around our van as well as giving us cell service and enhanced reception.

Strip lights diffuse light when overhead lights are too harsh in the early mornings or late evening.

Now lets dig a little deeper into the smart gadgets we have used. Two convenient and extremely easy to install gadgets that we included; are our LED Strip Lights and Magic WiFi chips. Magic WiFi chips plug directly into your LED Lights and connect them to your WiFi to control the colours and patterns as well as brightness of your lights.

For 12V appliances and our LED down lights we use a Sonoff 12V WiFi Chip. This little gem costs about $10 and integrates seamlessly into your existing wiring.

These intelligent little chips are a breeze to install, simply connecting inline with the positive and negative wires of your lights. They are worth their weight. We have one of these chips wired to the switch wires of our Duetto Mk2 12v Hot Water Service so we can heat the water for a shower 45 minutes before our morning alarms go off.

With these additions to your electrical system (especially if you are considering eliminating gas from your build design), you will feel as though you never left luxuries behind. Why not be minimal and make your build smarter, not harder?

For another time saving genius hack, check out our article on Drawer Dilemmas on the Road – What happens?

Here’s the products we’ve used in our van and mentioned here:

Published by Chris Hayward

Tour Guide, Professional Adventurer and the first person in history to ascend Australia's longest river. Chris has harnessed his life of adventure and turned it into a life on the road in a custom built Mercedes Sprinter Van Home

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